...from the also young (once).
1. Dr. Erlinda Lim-Juan, recipient of the Most Outstanding Family Physician of the Year Award given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians last February 2009.
"In the practice of medicine, there are several important Cs to live by. The first C is the C of Commitment to patient care. The second C is the C of genuine Concern for the patient's well-being and then there is the C of having a good Connection with our Creator. Doctors should also abide by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) Code of Ethics. For example, we should not Charge our Colleagues, their parents or their Children. Doctors should remember to live by the Hippocratic Oath. "
2. Dr. Lucille Flores-Teves, OB-Gynecologist
"Go immediately into training. Specialize. Sub-specialize, if possible. Choose a specialty or a sub-specialty that is not available yet in the place where you plan to practice. There is no gyne-oncologist yet in Dumaguete so we have to send patients to Cebu or Manila for management. The ultimate goal is to bring good service to our patients. It is more convenient for the patient if they can have the treatment in their hometown rather than having to travel to a strange and distant city where logistics and support groups are less readily available.
And don't delay in getting on with that residency. The older one gets, the harder it is to learn new things."
3. Dr. Mike Ozoa, Urologist
"Try out your career first. This advice is particularly for those who only went into medicine because their parents or some other relatives coerced them into it. For the new graduates who are not too excited about the practice of medicine, my advice is to give the practice of medicine a chance. Give it a try. See if you like it. Then if you realize that you don't like it or that there is something else that you would really, really want to do, then that's the time that you hang up that stethoscope and fold up that smock gown."
4. Dr. Erlyn Quinanola, OB-gyne/Sonologist
"Specialize. It is easier to get into hospital practice if you are already a specialist."
5. Dr. Marc Baviera, Urologist
"Go into residency. Patients today are well educated. They don't go to the hospital looking for a General Practitioner. They look for a specific doctor for a specific disease.
While waiting for a residency slot, you can do moonlighting or be a company physician. But your goal should be to go into residency."
6. Dr. Agong Uy, OB-Gyne/Sonologist
"Don't waste time. Go immediately into residency. While waiting for a residency slot, you can work as a medical transcriptionist."
7. Dr. Glenda Nuico, Pediatrician
"Specialize. Sub-specialize if possible. Medicine is very competitive these days. One has to be updated with the latest developments in medicine."
8. Dr. Gam Garcia, IM-Infectious Diseases
"Whatever you do, love your work. And everyday, seek to be a blessing to others."
9. Dr. Danny Olegario, Orthopedic surgeon
"Train. Choose whatever specialty you want. But you have to train."
This is a rather skewed survey, of course, because all the respondents are specialists, with spanking brand new clinics at the SU-MAB. I wonder what the doctors at the provincial hospital would advice the new medicine board passers.
I'm also wondering what my SUHS '78 classmates, Dr. Jacqueline Borja and Dr. Chelsea Cacaldo, who are doctors to the barrios here in Negros Oriental, would say.
A few months back, I met Jacqueline in the hospital and I asked her how was she doing as the Rural Health Officer in Basay. She said that she was the "all around" person there, meaning aside from her duties as a physician, every now and then she also doubles as the nurse, midwife, counselor, advocate, manager, teacher, helper, financer, socials committee chairperson and everything else in between. The interesting thing was, several years ago she had a chance to go to America because a well-paying job was waiting for her there. After weighing everything, however, she decided to stay with her people in rural Basay. And she said, she has not regretted that decision since.
As for Chelsea, well, Chelsea! She's been in the news lately because she was recently the recipient of the prestigious Ramon Aboitiz Exemplary Person Award! She is now dubbed the "fearless doctor to the hinterlands for tirelessly providing health care services in a rebel infested area." Read about it here.
So if you ask me, as a specialist I would say, go specialize. But before you do that, be a doctor to the barrios first for a couple of years. Our people surely need you. Who knows, maybe like Jacqueline and Chelsea, you might find that your heart is in the barrio and decide to stay there. Or if that is not your calling, I believe the two years with the poorest of our poor will somehow have a lasting impact in your perspective as a physician for the rest of your practicing days.